5 Natural Medicine Cabinet Essentials

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Fall is definitely arriving here in the Northwest as we welcome rain and chilly weather turning our thoughts towards starting to prepare for the winter and the cold/flu season. Last year I shared about stocking your natural medicine cabinet and found a wealth of information and ideas passed around from our readers. As I look back on this previous year, I realize I collected many items that were truly not necessary. My goal this year was to simplify my medicine cabinet and stick to the items that were most effective when dealing with the everyday cold and flu bugs last winter. Here are my top 5 items that I believe should be in every Mama’s cabinet:

1. Elderberry Syrup

I cannot praise this concoction enough! It is easy and frugal to make your own supply, and it is incredibly healing to the body. As I shared previously, “Elderberry is anti-viral, contains high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, has cell-protecting components, soothes sore throats, and supports the immune system and respiratory system.” We have found it extremely effective for all colds, running noses, sour throats, flu, fevers and various aches and pains. It covers all your bases and is perfectly safe for adults and children.

Learn how to make your own elderberry syrup and keep it stocked in your fridge all winter long. Take one teaspoon daily to help boost your immune system and prevent illness or 1-4 teaspoons daily during sickness. Check out this helpful video from Mountain Rose Herbs on preparing your own. Mountain Rose Herbs sells dried elderberries for an excellent price.

If you’d rather buy your Elderberry syrup, we have used the Quantum Elderberry brand as well and it is excellent alternative. You will go through it with one cold bug, so that is why I started to make my own because it was significantly cheaper.

2. Papaya Enzymes

We used papaya enzymes regularly when I was growing up and they have always been the most effective natural solution for stomach aches and indigestion – for adults and children. Papaya Enzymes are a chewable digestive aid that is 100% natural – made from papaya fruit. Pepermint and chlorophyll are added to refresh and sweeten breath, so it is also a great breath refreshener! I usually use two for myself and one tablet for children.

3. Epsom Salts

Sooth sour muscles, aches, pain, and relieve stress with epsom salts. They are effective in cleansing open wounds, remove warts, and heal the vaginal area after birth. Sprinkle a handful throughout the bath tub and soak as desired. Add a few drops lavender essential oil for enhanced healing and relaxation.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is very effective for burns, cuts, skin irritations such as relieving mosquito bits or poison ivy, and general cleansing of skin. You can grow a plant indoors to have on hand for these needs – simply break off a leave and rub the juices on the infected area.

5. Arnica

We love Arnica for all those bumps and bruises, which seem to happen daily at our home. I apply a dab of Arnica and the healing process is enhanced. Helps prevent bruising beautifully. We use Hyland’s Arnica Spray.

These are the top 5 natural healing tools at our home – items I have used consistently over the past few years. There are many other wonderful natural healing on the market, but I have found these to be the top picks for everyday use as a wife and mother. Keep the cabinet simple so your essentials are easy to find when the need arises. My next pursuit is to invest in a aromatherapy diffuser, in order to start using more essential oils in our home for healing and maintaining health and wholeness. I love the idea of fresh healing scents flowing through our home! Any recommendations out there for a diffuser?

What are your essentials?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

97 Responses to 5 Natural Medicine Cabinet Essentials

  1. Andrea (I Love Natural Skin Care) July 30, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Wow. Thanks so much for this information! I am a new follower, and I am sure glad I happened upon this post. I am in the process of trying to purge my medicine cabinet of all the yucky conventional products, and this gives me a lot of good ideas as to how I can replace them. Thanks again! ;)

    • Brian Z December 29, 2011 at 12:32 am #

      Depending on where you live makes a big difference. When I lived in the Sonora desert in Arizona I had a pharmacy outside my door. Living back in the city. My top are Colloidal silver. For burns, Staph,cuts, sore throats, strep and so much more. Aloe for sure. I had third degree burns up right arm to my shoulder. Natural aloe by slicing the plant in half was amazing relief for 12 hours. 4 herb tea for Cancer, detox. Grape seed extract. To me the single most important supplement. I’ve studied this for over 10 years. Dr. Clark Hanson was a forerunner in these studies. He later became my ex wife’s Doc in Scottsdale Arizona.. I learned to appreciate homeopathy from that man. If you have any allergies, you will not have them if you take enough Grape seed Extract. Does is different for everyone. Start with your body weight in milligrams 3 times a day, If your allergies persist. increase dosage. I’ve dissolved a very painful heal spur in 2 months using grape seed extract. Reduced all my scars by 50% at the same time. It’s single most strongest bioflavinoid on the planet.

  2. organic July 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Great idea!
    I see a few of you talking about essential oils and thought I should remind you of the importance of finding real 100% pure organic essential oils. From my experience these are not available in stores and can only be found online from some high quality producers or importers.
    Give these a shot: snowlotus.org you can also find interesting articles and oil ideas here ylessentialoils.com

    Thank you

  3. seo link robot review December 31, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m surprised more people aren’t commenting on this.

  4. bianchibiach November 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    @johnnyjaws Stem dont contain thc. Or at least? not much. They are useless.

  5. Alicia November 12, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    I love your website and am so greatful that I have found it. We currently use homepathic tablets and have used Arnica in those. What do you think about these tablets. We purchased a kit from Whole Foods. Have you used them? Would you recommend the Arnica ointment over the tablet? If so, where can I purchase the ointment? Thanks and keep up the good work!

  6. Nikia Shurts October 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Alexandria Godown

  7. MomStarr October 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    Can you use dried ginger in this syrup?

    • Lindsay October 17, 2010 at 6:16 am #

      Certainly. It will not be as effective, but I have used dried ginger myself on occasion.

      • Alicia February 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

        Do you take the papaya daily or give them to your children daily? Or do you only take them when you have stomach aches or indigestion?

        • Lindsay February 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

          Only when we have stomachs, heart burn, and indigestion.

      • Daisy November 2, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        You can most definitely use dried ginger and not only is it as effective it will give your syrup a bit of a kick. Dried ginger is hotter than fresh. Some recipes call for dried ginger because it does pack a punch.

  8. Carrie October 13, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Do you know of anyone making it from elderberry concentrate? I picked up a bottle from the health food store. It’s equivalent to 8 cups of berries. At $11 for the bottle, it was more cost effective for me to buy that rather that order the berries online and pay for shipping.

    I make the elderberry syrup with it last night by combining a cup of raw honey, 1/4 c of the concentrate and a few cloves. Warmed it enought to mix thoroughly and heat the cloves a bit.

    It has the consistency of a syrup and taste good. I hope it works.

    • Lindsay October 13, 2010 at 7:39 am #

      That sounds like it would work just fine.

  9. Jill October 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    I read somewhere that parts of the elderberry are poisonous. I ordered the dried elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs, and made the syrup. Do I need to be concerned?

    And for infants, I don’t want to give it to my 7 month old, but she still nurses, so do you know about how long before I nurse her should I take it myself so she gets some of it through nursing?

    • Lindsay October 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

      30 minutes before nursing is appropriate. No worries. The berries are perfectly safe.

  10. Donna September 30, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    The Lord’s provision never seeks to amaze me! I’m getting over a cold still that I got on Saturday and it served as a reminder to be proactive in making sure my immune system is on point. Was at whole foods yesterday and one product I’d considered cost about 12.99 so I decided for that I better do some investigating before research on my own. Came to your page today after having not visited for a while (simply because my Mac is down for the count currently so I don’t have my RSS feed to remind me of all of my daily blogs) and here is the product for me to take yay!:)

    Always a wealth of info here as well, looking forward to catching up on what I’ve missed

  11. Elizabeth Hall September 23, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    I went to purchase the elder berries from MRH, but noticed they’re out. Can you make the syrup from the elder berry powder? How would you make it and would it be as effective? Thanks!

    • Lindsay September 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      I am not familiar with elderberry powder and do not know how that would work. I would look around elsewhere – Bulk Herb Store has them in stock.

      • Elizabeth Hall September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

        Thanks for responding so quickly! I feel silly….when you mentioned “Bulk Herb Store” in either the original post or in a comment, I thought it was just a continuation of the name for MRH, not a separate store in and of itself. :)

  12. kristi September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Do you know of a place to get elderberries affordably??? I have found a couple places but all have outrageous shipping. Can you help me out??

    • Lindsay September 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

      Check out your local health food store in the bulk section. IF not, Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store are great options.

    • Elizabeth Hall October 4, 2010 at 5:16 am #

      I’m not sure if you’ve already found your elderberries, but I just got some from morethanalive.com. They have a flat rate for shipping, $6, and they are reasonably priced. The berries I got were $8/lb. And if you order 5-9.75 lbs of herbs/spices combined, you get 5% off. Or if you order 10-24.75 lbs you get 10% off and so on. I am entering my last trimester so I ordered some red raspberry leaf tea and a few other things. If you go in on it with someone else, you could easily order more than 5 lbs and get a discount. I received my order pretty quickly and have been pleased with it so far.

  13. Lauren September 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    My medicine cabinet essential is Olive Leaf Extract – great for colds/flu/general wellbeing and really reduces the severity of an illness. It’s very high in antioxidants and is safe for use with young children even 6mths old.

  14. Jocelyn September 13, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Elderberry also fights H5N1(avian flu)

  15. Nina September 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    the concern with honey is if the child is allergic to bees they can have a reaction to honey.

    I also like to have ginger and goji berries. I use them to make tea and/or soup (with garlic and chicken) when colds start hitting us.

    yes and colloidial silver and oil of oregano. a naturopath I know recommended shots of both when getting sick which scare me a little to be honest.

    I’ll be sure to check out papaya enzymes, I had never heard of this.

  16. Sarah September 12, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    I love this! Do you have a list of cabinet items for babies? Making these things, collecting them in a pretty basket would make for a great winter gift!

    Thanks so much!

    Sarah

  17. Imperfect People September 12, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Oh i havn’t heard of this!!?? But i will be getting some! I have also heard marigolds are pretty awesome at healing pretty much everything too. You use them much the same way. Great post!

  18. Amber September 9, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    I would only add that you should avoid arnica during pregnancy because it may stimulate contractions! My MIL makes her own massage lotion bars that contain it and I can’t use it for another 4 months.

  19. Jennifer September 9, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    Argh!!! so I look up elderberry on iherb and vitacost and there are a million brands, preparations. liquid, capsule, lozenge. Not ready to make my own yet. Hoping for something for me and my kids. Suggestions on a recommendation- please!!!

  20. Elle September 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    A naturopath in my area just happened to post this today:

    http://younglivingwoman.com/how-to-choose-an-essential-oil-diffuser-update/

    Hope you find what works for you!

  21. NaturalMama September 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Last year we ordered Elderberry syrup (Berry Well from Beeyoutiful.com) and I was really pleased, but with 4 kids taking it, the contents were quickly gone. It is expensive for the short amt of time we had it, so I’m so glad to see the video on how to make my own. Thanks!
    We also harvest garlic here, so I always have it on hand and use it for a lot of medicinal uses. Both my FIL and my dad have honey bees and harvest their own honey (soo wonderful..I just alternate between the two to get my honey for free…:o) so we use honey to stop a cough dead in its tracks (1 tbs).
    I also use a lot of the homeopathic hyland’s cough, flu, Cold, Sinus, etc…

  22. Karen September 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    I love elderberry syrup for cold and flu season, but my problem with it is the cost-it is a wonderful price that Mountain Rose Herbs is offering on their dried elder berries, but the shipping almost doubles the cost!

  23. Karen September 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    I love elderberry syrup for cols and flu season, but my problem with it is the cost-it is a wonderful price that Mountain Rose Herbs is offering on their dried elder berries, but the shipping almost doubles the cost!

  24. Kerry September 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Does anybody use a Netipot? What are your thoughts on that?

    • Tiffany September 9, 2010 at 6:26 am #

      We use a netipot sometimes…not as regularly as some people. We have found it most helpful when we have been in a dusty area, such as working in the woodshop or bucking hay. It cleans out the sinuses and helps us not get the stuffy head or headaches associated with particles in our head.

    • Katie September 9, 2010 at 11:52 am #

      I love my neti pot! It along with a good nasal saline spray is a life saver during allergy and cold/flu season. I usually use the packets that you can get in the store, but I have heard of some people making their own salt/mineral preparations to use in the water (for the neti pot). Probably considerably cheaper to make your own!

    • Heather September 11, 2010 at 10:04 am #

      I use the Netipot when I feel a cold coming on or in the midst of a cold. It has helped tremendously! I make sure to use luke warm water and only half of the package of the solution it comes with. And make sure to keep your head forward to keep it from going down the back of your throat. I know I’m making it sound so inviting, right? :) it’s great though. I posted my experience and tips on my blog if you want to check it out.

  25. Sarah September 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    We also use Colliodal Silver, but only if there is an infection. I dose it like it is a true antibiotic (because it is) Not something you should take for longer than 10 days at a time.

    Oil of Oregano has been a life saver for us as well. My daughter and I both catch Strep super easily, so the silver, plus oregano, plus probiotics nips in the bud every time. My naturopath recommended this combo instead of conventional antibiotics. Works every time!

    I am definitely going to make some of this syrup. I have seen it around, but it runs about $12-$15 at my local store. I would rather make it. :)

    Vitamin D3 is something we always have as well. My kiddos are 9 and 11, so I give them a large-ish dose when they start to feel cold or flu-ish.

    I agree with the garlic idea too! I have a tomato soup recipe (Jan’s Tomato Tea.. found at Earth Clinic) that I make every time the kiddos get sick. They love it and it is full of garlic, cayenne, lemon juice.. Great cold buster. :)

    Here’s to a healthier fall for all of us! ;)

    • Jodi September 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      where do you buy colloidal silver and how would i learn the dosing? also, i have never used oil of oregano. could you point me in the right direction if you have time?

      • Sarah September 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

        Sure thing!

        I buy both at a local health store. It is very readily available here in California. Not sure where to go online..

        For the colloidal silver, I bought the liquid 15ppm. Any higher ppm (parts per million) needs to be diluted. I dosed 3 teaspoons, 3 times a day, for 10 days. Just like conventional antibiotics would be used. If it is for strep, I would also suggest swishing and gargling the liquid before swallowing. I have used it with success for ear infections too.. just pour a little in the ear and let sit.

        (The man who turned blue using silver?? He used it everyday for years! That is not what it is meant to do. 10 days at a time is perfectly safe.)

        For the oil of oregano, I always use the capsules, since the oil is very potent, and burns the skin. The capsules should be taken with food as well. For me, I would use 2-3 capsules, 3 times a day. (I took it the same time as the silver)

        I don’t know height and weight for your kiddos, so I would use half a dose for them possibly? The other thing I want to say is that if the symptoms aren’t getting better within a few days, don’t wait to go to the doc. That has never happened to me, but I just wanted to put a precaution out there. :)

        The other important thing during infection was to load up the body with probiotics. Those need to be taken on an empty stomach. 2 hours away from the silver and oregano. :)

        Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

  26. Jennett September 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    I also appreciate hearing about the papaya and the elderberry. I just put them in my cart for the next Azure order. Thank you!

    • cecilia September 9, 2010 at 3:02 am #

      hello jennett,
      I am looking for azure website…can you give me the full name? thanks!

  27. Grandma Patty Ann September 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    I have been missing you! I started following you and then took a few days off to start my own blog. :-) I think I am going to learn a lot from you! I am very interested in the natural ways. Love today’s post.

    Love to you, Grandma Patty Ann

  28. LivingSoAbundantly September 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Hey! I really enjoy your site and visit often. :0) One thing that most people have on hand and could easily use is garlic. Whenever I start to feel like I’m coming down with something, I slice up a garlic clove and eat it raw. I repeat a couple times a day until symptoms stop. Some people can’t stomach that, which is okay! You can roast it or even make a chicken soup with garlic cloves. It’s amazing how many colds I’ve fought off right away from garlic. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Just make sure you eat a pro biotic along with it(yogurt would be a good choice!). Also, the consumption of too much raw garlic could cause digestive tract problems, so everything in moderation, right? I feel like I’m doing a commercial for garlic. =)

    • Tracie September 9, 2010 at 7:52 am #

      I love garlic too! In fact, if my chilren see me with it in the kitchen, they automatically assume someone is sick! I recently alternated between rubbing garlic and raw honey on my 3 year old for a bad case of ringworm last week. Healed it all within a couple days!

  29. Gretchen September 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    How do you use epsom salts to remove warts?

  30. Robin September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    This is great – thanks for the info! I will have to try papaya enzyme, as we seem to go through a lot of Tums. How long will the homemade elderberry syrup last in the fridge? Sorry if that question was answered in the video, my computer isn’t letting me watch the video right now. Thank you!

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

      I believe the video says that it will last one month in the fridge. You can easily make smaller batches if you cannot consume in that time.

      • Jules September 9, 2010 at 7:25 am #

        Actually, he said two weeks, which is much shorter than I have heard so I came here to check the comments. I’ve always heard 1-2 months, so I’m thinking either he meant to say two months (and said weeks instead) or I heard incorrectly. I say it should last 1-2 months. Honey is a natural preservative, right?

        • Jules September 9, 2010 at 7:30 am #

          Okay, I think I’m hearing things! At one point he said to take a couple of teaspoons, and then at the end he said 1 TB per day for prevention. Am I losing my marbles? I have two little ones, so it’s a strong possibility. :)

          I have a 6 and 3 year old plus two adults. How do you recommend I dose the elderberry syrup?

          Thank you! ( I just love your blog, by the way.)

          • Lindsay September 10, 2010 at 7:26 am #

            The general recommendation is 1 tsp per day for prevention, or up to 4 tsp per day during an illness. That is what is recommended on the store bought bottles as well.

        • Lindsay September 10, 2010 at 7:49 am #

          Yes, it should last for at least one month. Mine has been in the fridge for about 6 weeks now and it still is fine.

          • Jill October 10, 2010 at 10:56 am #

            What would be the recommended dose for children ages 3 & 4?

          • Lindsay October 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

            1 tsp is what I give my little ones.

      • Amy September 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

        Do you ladies think it would freeze well? I was thinking about freezing it in ice cube trays so we could use a little at a time.

        • Lindsay September 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

          I don’t see why not. That sounds like a perfect solution!

  31. Michele @ Frugal Granola September 8, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    I wrote about the diffuser I like here: http://frugalgranola.com/2010/06/frugal-natural-home-fragrances/

    Blessings,
    Michele :)

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

      Which one did you buy? I was checking out the options from MRH, but they didn’t look very powerful. Thanks for the recommendation!

  32. Emily September 8, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Lindsay, I want to thank you for your blog. It is a great encouragement and inspiration to me. I have been wanting to purchase a good oil diffuser for a while now, but just haven’t yet. Rocky Mountain Oils is a great website for affordable good quality essential oils (compared to Young Living brand). I found this diffuser on their website http://www.rockymountainoils.com/shop/Jet_Diffuser.htm Please post and let us know what you find when you get one.

  33. Amanda September 8, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Do you have any good natural medicines that you keep on hand for babies under 1 year? We have found that a cool mist vaporizer and Little Cold’s Baby Rub works quite well for a cold but I would like to find something more natural than the Baby Rub?

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

      There are not a ton of options for natural medicine for littles under 1, but here are some of my natural healing recommendations for infants. You can also try the sugar free elderberry syrup.

    • Tracie September 9, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      Hi Amanda,

      When my babies were stuffy, I would put a few drops of eucalyptus in their baby bathtub and sit them in it. Also, I will crush a clove of garlic and mix it with olive oil and then rub it on them. Just be careful not to let it get too strong. test on yourself first. I have heard of some people putting garlic or onions in their baby’s socks at night when they are ill. Have not tried tht one myself yet.

  34. Jen September 8, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Does anyone know of something that’s super effective on headaches/migraines? Things I’ve done with absolutely no success are: massage, gua sha, deep breathing, LOTS of water, sleep, exercise, and all your typical Tylenol/Advil/Aleve pills. I really, really need a healthy, supportive alternative.

    • Rachel September 8, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      I would suggest a chiropractor first. Then cleansing (you may need a liver cleanse, bowel cleanse, parasite cleanse, or candida yeast cleanse). Get with an herbalist or naturopath if you know nothing of this area. These cleanses will clean out many toxins that could be causing them (migraines are often caused by allergies). I like Renew Life brand products, they are mild and doable. http://www.renewlife.ca/conditions.php?id=9
      (this is the Canadian website, as it has more info, but renewlife.com will tell you where you can buy their products). Hope this helps!

    • Robin September 8, 2010 at 11:29 am #

      You might try acupuncture. It has worked for friends with migraines. I have heard good things about keeping a headache journal and tracking food triggers/activity triggers. You might see a pattern emerging relating to your hormonal cycle or foods eaten. Good luck!

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

      I would recommend you check out the Doterra Past Tense essential oil blend. It comes in a rub on applicator and has wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil, and rosemary.

    • greendragonfly September 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

      I really like Excedrin and coffee. I also avoid anything made from red grapes – wine, vinegar… And with deep and profound sadness, I also avoid all chocolate. Both are my biggest triggers – even a handful of M&Ms (which aren’t even very much real chocolate) will send me off into migraine land. I’ve also heard of acupuncture and a friend of mine with SEVERE migraines went to a dentist and got a TMJ (?) mouth piece that really helped her. I agree with a food journal, too. And, my limited experience with acupuncture – they actually listen and may be able to treat you in a broader manner than traditional doctors.

    • Shelley September 8, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

      You might find it worth while to read the book “Heal Your Headache” written by David Buchholz, M.D. He is a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University that specializes in dealing with migraine patients. I too suffer from migraines and found the book helpful. The author deals with the most common triggers for migraines (including a list of foods), many of which surprised me, and some of the things you can try before medicine if you prefer. He also talks about some of the things that tend to make migraines worse (one of which my family doctor had recommended as a cure for me).

    • Hannah September 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

      I would recommend you find a Bikram Yoga studio if you can in your area. Also, try eliminating sugar and dairy to begin with and see if that has any kind of a positive affect. A great website about fungus in us and how it can affect us is http://www.knowthecause.com.

  35. leslie September 8, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I use homemade thieves oil in a diffuser, as a room spray, and in a mix that I wipe our counters, surfaces, etc. with. It smells homey and kills the germies!

    http://cuppapixie.blogspot.com/search?q=thieves

  36. Rachel September 8, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Our can’t-live-without cabinet involves:
    -Astragalus drops (an immune booster kind of like echinacea, but better as you can take it consistently) which we use whenever we’re coming down with something or if we’re exposed to obvious sickness
    -Colloidal silver (we use Nature’s Sunshine Silver Shield) which can be taken/rubbed on/gargled/etc) for any type of infection
    -Vick’s vaporub rubbed on the kids feet for any coughing and it stops immediately and stays that way all night long (usually)
    -Ginger tea or papaya enzymes for tummy aches
    -Gripe Water (Baby’s Bliss brand, you can get at Walgreen’s) for baby colic, teething, sour stomach, or any digestive issues. If it doesn’t help the baby, take a swig yourself and you’ll feel better!
    -We also drink fresh carrot juice all winter (mixed with greens and apple usually) for lots of beta-carotene, which helps heal mucus membranes and encourages healing

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

      I have recently heard of Gripe Water for the use in baby colic, but it actually works with teething? That has been the one area that I have not found a good natural alternative to infant Tylenol.

  37. TeeJay September 8, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    This is awesome. I have always had trouble with indigestion and have been looking for an alternative to Pepcid AC (which I know isn’t good for me). I’ve tried apple cider vinegar diluted in water, but it doesn’t help me every single time. I needed alternative indigestion relief. :)

    I’m also looking forward to trying the elderberry syrup.

    Thanks so much!

  38. Heather September 8, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    We just made Elderberry syrup for the upcoming flu season, and I am loving it. Thank you for the other wonderful medicine cabinet must haves

  39. Krissa September 8, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    I use the diffuser from Dolterra. It seems to work really well. When you first start diffusing, I think you have to start with small time increments and build up. I really love their oil blend On Guard to use for immunity…it smells kind of like Fall/Christmas. :)

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation Krissa. I was looking at the Doterra brand diffuser and it does look the best.

      • Cynthia September 10, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

        Lindsay, what a sweet site you have! This is the first time I have visited and am delighted with your articles. I just subscribed to your RSS feed and look forward to seeing you in my reader!

        I, too, have done research on essential oil diffusers and was concerned about the negative ion concept of the doTerra diffuser as it could very well be adding harmful levels of ozone to your home. I do like the new TheraPro Premium diffuser from Young Living, however. It puts microscopic droplets of essential oil into the air without ions and it is easy to change oils without making a mess. For me, that was HUGE!

  40. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime September 8, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    I often use honey on cuts and scrapes. I keep Arnica around too, usually only use it for the more serious bumps n’ bruises!

    Another indispensable part of our “natural medicine” kit is an accupressure reference book (Accupressure’s Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments by Michael Reed Gach). We’ve used it with great success on everything from my dh’s knee pain to my ds’s swimmers’ ear and motion sickness. Plus once you know the points for a specific ailment, you can do them any time, any place you need them, since you always have your fingers with you :)

  41. Rebecca (Craving Simplicity) September 8, 2010 at 6:52 am #

    This is really helpful. I was just talking to my husband about wanting to make our medicines more natural. Can’t wait to start working on it!

  42. kileah September 8, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Yaay! Thanks for posting, Linds! Need to re-stock!

  43. Laura @ Homemaking Joyfully September 8, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    I have been working to “naturalize” our medicine cabinet and this is a very helpful list.

    Also, I agree about elderberry syrup. It is hands-down the best thing for colds, we’ve been using it for years!

  44. Erin September 8, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    FYI to the future mommies out there – Arnica was ESSENTIAL to my recovery from a pretty traumatic birth. Now I keep it on hand for everyday use as well!

  45. Janette September 8, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    I like to use vitamin E gels on cuts as it is very soothing and helps heal skin faster. It takes the sting out of the cut as well. I just poke a small hole in one end of the capsule and squeeze on for easy application.

  46. Leslie September 8, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    Thanks so much. I will definitely try the elderberry syrup. Do you know if you can give it to children under two with the honey in it? My 19 month old has had several allergies…..wasn’t sure it was wise to give it to him or not.

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 5:42 am #

      I use raw honey for my homemade syrup and thus believe it to be safe to give to my little ones (esp. after the first year but I have used it before), but you can purchase a sugar free version of elderberry syrup if you are concerned. There is just nothing natural on the market for under 1 year old, so I use the homemade elderberry in small quantities for the infant.

      • Leslie September 8, 2010 at 9:09 am #

        Thank you!

    • Megan September 8, 2010 at 6:58 am #

      It is important to be cautious with little ones and honey (many jars will mention the right age), given the thickness of it.

      • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

        Yes, indeed. Nina Planck in Real Food for Mother & Baby recommended the use of local raw honey for littles ones, and that is why I don’t worry about it. Making sure you have a safe source is definitely key. Many prefer to avoid honey till 1-2 years, and for those, there is the sugar free elderberry version.

  47. Noelle September 8, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    What a great post. Thank you for this information. My husband got sick a couple of weeks ago and had me get him vick’s nyquil to take at night. I knew it wasn’t good for him but I didn’t know of any better alternatives. I know I will be making some elderberry syrup soon!

  48. elaine September 8, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    What a timely post — I have been meaning to go back to the post you wrote last year about keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet and begin to get mine in order. Thanks for updating your post and whittling it down to five! Two quick questions … where do you get your Papaya and do you recommend a brand (that was really one question!) and how do you use Epsom Salts to get rid of warts??? Thanks so much :)

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 5:44 am #

      You can find papaya enzymes through Vitacost. We have used the American Health brand for years. For warts, simply soak your feet once or twice a day in a small pan of water with about a handful of epsom salts. The warts will disappear within a few soaks.

      • elaine September 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

        excellent – thanks for the reply!

  49. Mary September 8, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    Do you know if you can take Elderberry syrup while pregnant?

    • Lindsay September 8, 2010 at 5:47 am #

      I cannot see why not. I am not aware of any risk in this mixture. But as always, it is recommended to consult your family physician or naturopath before use.

  50. Ksenia September 8, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    Thanks a lot, very useful.